“We have been just lucky so far that the number of coronavirus cases have not been growing in the city. All of us need to be careful and follow the guidelines of the government”, says UT Adviser, Manoj Parida, IAS, in an interview with Tricity Scoop. He informed Chandigarh Administration is talking to private doctors and health workers to be involved who are free at home when things are closed.
Now when lockdown has been extended, Chandigarh Administration has extended curfew for till the end of this month. We speak to man who has been active on ground and social media interacting with city people, on how he along with his team of officials has set an example by effectively implementing the decisions of the UT Administrator, which has thus bringing down coronavirus cases in the city.
On how the entire mechanism was so well planned he says, “First of all, the size of my population is small. The area is very compact. The city is beautifully planned by Le Corbusier. We have a team of dedicated officials and Chandigarh has always been one step ahead. When lockdown was announced we said total curfew.”
“We then focused on how to provide essential items and introduced door to door movement of vegetable vendors. The roads are very wide hence it is easy to reach out to different colonies.”, says Parida. When we got complaints of overcharging we fixed the prices to ensure people get things at fair prices. Then we decided to give four hours relaxation for essential services, he adds.
Giving full credit to city residents, the Adviser says, “The people are very responsive, conscious and have set up a high living standard, and can buy for 2-3 days and stock items. This helped us to manage better and since our officials come from both Punjab and Haryana, they are exposed to the city and can seek help from neighbouring governments, and we could succeed there.
On how social media is helping, Parida said, “You can convey a lot of decisions on the social media. Twitter is the best mode and I am in a higher bureaucracy level and can hence communicate important decisions which concern the residents. I took its advantage and have left it open for anyone to ask any questions.”
When asked about several innovations which have come through in the recent past he says, “We are being helped by almost everyone. Chandigarh is a city of intellectuals. We had this factory coming up with hand washing machine. People are donating protection gear for hospitals and we will recognize every contribution after this gets over. We have got an overwhelming response. We have an application to track buses selling vegetables, how quarantine people can be guarded through our application. People are doing it for the society and I salute them. Once things are back to normal, we will acknowledge the contribution of all those who came forward in this hour of need.”
On lockdown extension he says, it’s a dynamic situation. Every day one has to take a call and decide. Number of positive cases, number of deaths, location of these cases, status in neighbouring states, and several other factors have to be taken into consideration before taking a decision.
When asked how UT Administration will cope with pendency in government offices once things are back to normal, the Adviser says, “All over the country it’s the same situation and Government of India is working in consultation with officers which activity to allow. We will decide which offices to be open. It will be gradual and situation specific.”
Commenting on further measures, Parida said, “Chandigarh has an integrated health plan in place. There will be three types of hospitals. Suspected mild cases where isolation is required will be kept in places like Panchayat Bhawan, hostels, government hotels, and empty buildings while moderate cases will be kept in in GMCH Sector 32 and GMSH Sector 16 hospitals. Meanwhile, PGI which is a COVID hospital will handle emergency cases and later Sector 48 hospital may also be converted into a COVID hospital.”
He says while generally compliance is there in Chandigarh, people are crowding 26 grain market. “We are stopping them and some are coming out in the name of evening walk which is wrong. People should follow the instructions and when out during curfew relaxation should wear masks which we have made mandatory. Just stay home and stay safe!”